Saturday, July 30, 2011

INDIA-NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY

DELHI (Dilli) (includes & Mehrauli)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Mittal Tea House – Mathura Road (at Sunder Nagar Market, #8A); 011-91-11-2461-5709 or 011-91-11-2462-4222; tea-india.com; complimentary tea tastings; try fragrant Kashmiri kahwa (green tea with cardamom), or (finest) Vintage Musk; white tea said to contain even more antioxidants than green tea, while dragon balls are visual thrill when brewed.
Regalía Tea House – Mathura Road (at Sunder Nagar Market, #12); 011-91-11-2345-0115 or 011-91-11-2345-1007; complimentary tea tastings; try fragrant Kashmiri kahwa (green tea with cardamom), or (finest) Vintage Musk; white tea said to contain even more antioxidants than green tea, while dragon balls are visual thrill when brewed.
Bars & Nightclubs
Baci – 23 Sunder Nagar Market; 011-91-11-4150-7445; downstairs bar can be excellent at night.
Pure by Kuki – 7E Community Centre, GK Part II (Masjid Moth); 011-91-11-2922-5241; plays Western chart toppers and Bollywood hits; draws raucous crowd of young singles.
Shalom – N-18 Greater Kailash I; 011-91-11-4163-2280; shalomexperience.com; spare, all-white Mediterranean lounge popular with yuppies; great Levantine food and excellent, atmospheric electronica.
Smoke House Grill – 2 Vipps Center (Masjid Moth); 011-91-11-4143-5531; smokehousegrill.in; elegant bar and restaurant.
Hotels
Residence – S362 Panchsheel Park (in very poor area); 011-91-11-4058-2121 or 800-551-2409; justahotels.com/residence_panchsheel.html; overlooks Mehrauli Archaeological Park and Qutab Minaret; top 2 stories comprise master bedroom, 3 guest rooms, and drawing room, which looks over archaeological park; rest of residence faces inward, onto central courtyard with pool and open hallway featuring 12' stone columns (2 are original 16th Century pillars from Moghul palace); courtyard planted with pomegranate trees, jasmine, date palms, tall and leafy eucalyptus; 5 guest rooms, each different; 1 features carved, lattice-screen balcony (jali) loaded with cushions.
Restaurants
Baci – 23 Sunder Nagar Market; 011-91-11-4150-7445; south Delhi’s answer to casual Italian café.
Moti Mahal – 3703 Netaji Subhash Marg (Darya Ganj); 011-91-11-2327-3011; motimahal.in; Nehru was fan; courtyard restaurant serving some of best Punjabi food around; order butter chicken (curry of butter, cream, onions, spices, and tomato), mutton burra kebab (seasoned, roast lamb), kesari fish tikka (saffron-flavored roast fish), and/or garlic chicken kebab (marinated in garlic-yoghurt paste).
Nathu’s Sweets – Mathura Road (at Sunder Nagar Market, #2); 011-91-11-2435-2435; nathusweets.com; home-cooking.
Smoke House Grill – 2 Vipps Center (Masjid Moth); 011-91-11-4143-5530; smokehousegrill.in/; elegant bar and restaurant.
Services
Abercrombie & Kent – 800-652-7984; abercrombiekent.com; wonderful Chadni Chowk guides (ask for Satish Jacob, retired BBC correspondent and former Old Delhi resident); half-day price is $465.
Butterfield & Robinson – 866-551-9090; butterfield.com; Jama Masjid mosque tours.
Shopping
Bharany’s – 14i Lodhi Road, (at Sunder Nagar Market, #14; by appointment only); 011-91-11-2435-9528; bharanys.com; Indian jewelry combining antique and new settings with precious and semi-precious stones; huge gems, including rough-cut diamonds (polkis) and gold-work embellished on back by enamelwork (kundan meena) (moghuls felt most beautiful part should be worn on skin); visit inner salon to peruse museum-quality, Moghul-style work.
La Boutique – Mathura Road (Sunder Nagar Market, #20); 011-91-11-2435-0066; laboutiqueindia.com; specializes in reproductions of bronze and stone statues, Moghul miniature paintings, and wooden handicrafts; also, traditional silver piece reproductions (bowls, candlesticks, and trays).
Delhi Cloth House – 66-B Khan Market; 011-91-11-2461-8937; ask for Sanjay; custom-made clothing.
Gallery 29 Sunder Nagar – Mathura Road (Sunder Nagar, #29); 011-91-98-1108-7325; gallery29sundernagar.com; 7th generation Moghul miniaturist descendant, Ustad Mansur, Azam Khan (also known as Babbe), creates exceptional, Moghul-style works; also, 40 other artists.
Ladakh Art Gallery – Mathura Road (at Sunder Nagar Market, #10); 011-91-11-2435-8679; snsvo4.seekandsource.com/ladakh; art and jewelry.
Nathu’s Sweets – Mathura Road (at Sunder Nagar Market, #2); 011-91-11-2435-2435; nathusweets.com; candies, cookies, custards, etc.
Padma Gems – 9A Sunder Nagar Market (by appointment only); 011-91-11-2435-1513; supplies New York’s Fred Leighton; more Western look.
Sights & Sites
Chandni Chowk – Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi, opposite Red Fort); literally, “Moonlight Square”; once Moghul cultural center; must have guide to see properly; area heavily Muslim, so no short sleeves or shorts.
Jama Masjid – Meena Bazar (in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi); 011-91-11-2332-0005; jamamasjid.in; largest mosque in India; completed in 1665 by Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan; onion-domed, red sandstone building; ask for Syed Tariq Bukhari (Imam’s younger brother).
Khan Market – bounded by Subramaniam Bharti Marg, Maharshi Raman Marg, Max Mueller Marg, and Load Road (off Prithvaraj Road and near Humayan Road); 011-91-11-2461-8587; famed for fine tailors, also renowned for authentic street food.
Nizamuddin – off Mathura Road; neighborhood surrounding Nizamuddin Dargah (mausoleum); named after Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya; divided into 2 parts along Mathura Road, namely, Nizamuddin West (where Dargah complex and Muslim vendor market located) and Nizamuddin East (upper-class residential area situated between Humayun’s Tomb and Nizamuddin Railway Station); important monuments in Nizamuddin heritage area, include Humayun’s Tomb, Chausath Khamba, Mirza Ghalib’s tomb, Barakhamba, Blue Gumbad at (Nizamuddin Circle), and Lal Mahal; increasingly inhabited by impoverished Muslim refugees from Bangladesh who work mostly as ragpickers on area garbage dumps; Amir Khusro and Jehan Ara Begum tombs also located within Nizamuddin Dargah complex; and Inayat Khan’s tomb is just around corner.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary – Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida); anandarya.com; flamingo, garganey duck, goose, oriole, partridge, purple heron, stork, tailorbird, and yellow-footed pigeon.
Qutab Minaret – Mehrauli; qutubminar.org; world’s tallest minaret.
Sunder Nagar Market – Lodhi and Mathura Roads (south of Purana Qila); specializes in Indian and Nepali handicrafts and “antiques” (mostly replicas).



GURGAON
Hotels
Oberoi Hotel Gurgaon – 443, Phase 5, Udyog Vihar (beside Trident Hotel); 011-91-12-4245-1234; oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-gurgaon; super modern; restaurant offers modern twist on traditional regional food.
Tikli Bottom – Manender Farm (Gairatpur Bas, 90 minutes south of Delhi but only half hour from international airport); 011-91-12-4276-6556; tiklibottom.com; 4-room, Lutyens-style bungalow owned by British couple; organic, on-premises farm.
Trident – 443 Udyog Vihar; 011-91-12-4245-0505; tridenthotels.com; hour south of Delhi but next to international airport; contemporary twist on Moghul architecture; 136 rooms and superb spa; good restaurants.
Services
Shakti Village Experience – Vatika City Point, Sector 25, MG Road; 011-91-11-4173-4788; shaktihimalaya.com; comfortably – sometimes elegantly – appointed tours.
Shopping
Sharma Farm – off Dera Gaon Road (south of Delhi, near Chhattarpur Mandir); 011-91-11- 2680-1221; sharma_farm@hotmail.com; home furnishings.
Sights & Sites
Devi Art Foundation – 39 Sirpur House, Plot 39, Sector 44; 011-91-12-4488-8111; deviartfoundation.org; contemporary art scene locale.
Shakti Village Experience – Vatika City Point, Sector 25, MG Road; 011-91-11-4173-4788; shaktihimalaya.com; comfortably, sometimes elegantly, appointed Himalayan tours.



MEHRAULI
Shopping
Viya Home – D 19 Defence Colony or 369 Mehrauli Gurgaon Road; 011-91-11-4155-4112; viyahome.com; home furnishings (mirrors, stained glass, architectural elements, maps, lithographs, etchings, wall-hangings, and prints); has 100% pashmina products; exotic Tibetan pashminas can be arranged by appointment.
Sights & Sites
Mehrauli Archaeological Park – Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road; 100-acre, Moghul Era park with mimosa forest and 80 Indo-Islamic monuments.



NEW DELHI
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Elma’s Bakery, Cakes & Tea Room – 24/1 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2652-1020; for New York-style bagels and I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-beef cheeseburgers; English teahouse; flower-print curtains, ivory-handled silverware, and crochet patterns; all sorts of bread – from baguettes to chocolate bread to bacon loaves; organic teas (black or green) or French-pressed coffee (some of best capital has to offer); Apple & Cinnamon Cake, Butternut Maple & Pecan Pudding Pie, Carrot Cake, and Fresh Plum & Almond Pudding; try scones; there are also savory options such as Coronation Chicken sandwich; offers high tea.
Living Room Café – 31 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-4608-0533; tlrcafe.com.
Bars & Nightclubs
Agni – 15 Parliament Street (Connaught Place, at Park Hotel); 011-91-11-2374-3000; theparkhotels.com; less “fabulous” crowd than at F-Bar; music can be dated and monotonous.
Aqua – 15 Parliament Street (Connaught Place, at Park Hotel); 011-91-11-2374-3000; theparkhotels.com; poolside, South Beach-meets-Manhattan; people-watching overlooking blue water; try to arrange private cabana.
F-Bar & Lounge – 50-B Diplomatic Enclave (at Ashok Hotel); 011-91-11-2611-1118; fbardelhi.com; where to see Delhi high society; Indian Studio 54; cover is $70 per couple and includes 1 drink.
Living Room Café – 31 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-4608-0533 or 011-91-11-4608-0544; tlrcafe.com; live bands; try “Bloody Indian,” tomato juice spiked with Old Monk rum, lime, and pepper.
Rick’s – 1 Mansingh Road (at Taj Mahal Hotel); 011-91-11-2302-6162; tajhotels.com; old-fashioned martini bar; attracts Delhi’s old money set, who land here after 12:00 a.m.
Veda – H-27 Connaught Place (Outer Circle); 011-91-11-4151-3535; vedarestaurants.com; kitsch-glam bar décor gets unanimous raves; food so-so.
Hotels
Aman – Lodhi Road; 011-91-11-4363-3333; amanresorts.com; oasis in urban desert; 31 rooms and 36 suites; most rooms/suites have terraces and plunge pools; deluxe suites face quiet inner courtyard; tennis courts, spa, and lap pool.
Ashok Hotel – Diplomatic Enclave, 50-B Chanakayapuri; 011-91-11-2611-0101; theashok.com.
Imperial – 011-91-11-2334-1234; theimperialindia.com; whitewashed, colonial property dating to 1936; 3 art galleries.
Diplomat Hotel – 9 Sardar Patel Marg; 011-91-11-2301-0204; thehoteldiplomat.com.
ITC Maurya Hotel – Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg; 011-91-11-2611-2233; itchotels.in.
Manor – 77 Friends Colony West; 011-91-11-2692-5151; themanordelhi.com.
Oberoi, New Delhi – Dr. Zakir Hussain Marq; 91-11-2436-3030 or 800-562-3764; oberoihotels.com; on private, parklike grounds with meticulous landscaping; modernist architecture; 2 gorgeous pools; overlooks prestigious Delhi Golf Club on 1 side and heritage site (Humayun’s Tomb) on other; air-conditioned, perfectly appointed rooms; marble bathrooms; excellent spa; lavish, 1st-rate restaurants.
Park Hotel – 15 Parliament Street (Connaught Place); 011-91-11-2374-3000; theparkhotels.com.
Taj Mahal Hotel – 1 Mansingh Road; 011-91-11-2302-6162; tajhotels.com; classic Indian architecture; luxurious; good restaurants, at least 1 of which is Japanese.
Restaurants
Basil & Thyme – New Wellington Camp, Air Force Station, Race Course Road (Chanakyapuri, at Santushti Shopping Complex); 011-91-11-2467-3322; chef Bhicoo Manekshaw now in her 80s; fresh flavors, such as carrot-and-orange soup, pita triangles with garlic butter, roast chicken stuffed with black mushrooms, or "filo parcel" stuffed with vegetables and glazed with coriander hollandaise; minimalist warm white environment, with stone floors and large windows that look onto Santushti Market; alcohol not served, but beloved by Delhi's upper crust and embassy crowd.
Bukhara – Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg; 011-91-11-2611-2233; itchotels.in; 1st high-end restaurant to rediscover authentic Indian cuisine’s magic; remains must-visit both for locals and travelers; cult-status; highest-grossing restaurant in India; Northwest frontier food; rustic, stone-walled décor; menu focuses on kebabs; pinnacle dish is dal Bukhara (stewed black lentils laden with butter and cream); also, sikandari raan (roasted lamb leg), burrah kebabs (lamb chops), tandoori jhinga (oven-baked prawns), and murgh malai kebabs (cream-marinated chicken); Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Mick Jagger are devotees; no reservations.
Le Cirque – Diplomatic Enclave (Chanakyapuri, at Leela Palace New Delhi); 011-91-11-3933-1390; theleela.com; New York classic’s outpost.
Gunpowder – 22 Hauz Khas Village, 3rd Floor; 011-91-11-2653-5700; gunpowder.co.in; 32-seats; organic teas and seasonal produce emphasized; ask for table on outdoor terrace, overlooking reservoir.
Karim’s – 16 Gali Kababian (Chandni Chowk marketplace); 011-91-11-2326-9880; karimhoteldelhi.com/restaurants.html; kebabs.
Living Room Cafe (T.L.R.) – 31 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-4608-0533; tlrcafe.com; hip; open for lunch through 11 pm.
Naivedyam (Village Bistro) – 1 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2696-0426; Southern Indian cooking.
Olive Bar & Kitchen – 9 Sardar Patel Marg (at Diplomat Hotel); 011-91-11-4604-0404; olivebarandkitchen.com; try tiramisu.
On Waterfront – Lodhi Road (at Aman Hotel); 011-91-11-4363-3411; amanresorts.com; contemporary Chinese, Indian, Japanese fusion.
Park Balluchi – Hauz Khas Village (in Deer Park); 011-91-11-2696-9829; parkballuchi.com; fine Indian dining in lovely setting.
Swagath – 14 Defence Colony Market (Lajpat Nagar); 011-91-11-2433-0930; swagath.in; try Malabari lobster and/or chettinad prawns.
Services
Delhi Magic – 116A Shahpur Jat, 3rd Floor (New Delhi, near UCO Bank); 011-91-98-6770-7414; delhimagic.com; introductions to area’s history, religion, and shopping; $35 per person for groups of 2-6.
Shopping
Agence – 50E Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-99-7135-8479; ultraconfidentiel.com; custome furniture and interior design items in this “studio boutique.”
Aphrodite – 29 Hauz-Khas Village; 011-91-11-4132-2934; aphroditefashionworld.com; Navneet Randhawa and Gulneet Bajaj are creative minds behind store offering chic, elegant, and trendy clothing, ideal for fun night out or Sunday brunch.
Balance – G-6 Lado Sarai, Ground Floor (at Crescent at Qutub); 011-91-11-2952-1734; rohitbal.com/contact.htm; clothing.
Bodhi Art – B-25 Nerolac Building (Qutab Institutional Area; 011-91-11-2656-4126; bodhiart.in; best Indian painters.
Carpet Cellar – 1 Anand Lok (Khel Gaon Marq); 011-91-11-4164-1777; carpetcellar.com; handwoven, Middle Eastern carpets, most from 18th-19th Centuries; new carpets, too; has 100% pashmina and shahmina, as well as shahtoosh, products.
Sarita Handa – 16 Khan Market, 1st floor; 011-91-11-4352-1824; saritahanda.com; highest quality bedding and cushions.
Hanut Singh – A7 West End; 011-91-98-1028-7460 or 212-810-6836; hanutsingh.com; by appointment only; beaux monde fave; long, dangling earrings are trademark.
H2O & Cue – F6 Cresent At Qutub (Lado Sarai; 011-91-11-2952-1596; louche flapper dresses.
Lola’s World – 30 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-6451-4201; lolasworld.net; ‘mother and child’ concept store; colorful boutique offering adult and children accessories, clothing, and toys; Parisian label Nana Ki, run by owner, weaves sophisticated European designs with authentic Indian fabrics to produce cotton kurtas, silk skirts, pants, pashmina leggings, cardigans, and delicate silk-chiffon dresses.
Manish Arora Fish Fry – G-10 Cresent at Qutab (Lado Sarai); 011-91-11-2952-1582 or 011-91-11-2952-1583; manisharora.ws; local fashionista.
Namrata Joshipura – DLF Emporio, #410 (Vasant Kunj); 011-91-11-4607-3438; joshipura.com; high fashion with Indian twist.
munkee.see.munkee.doo – 14 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-96-5050-9927; effortless urban style; funky, well-tailored clothing, with emphasis on 60s mod style; houndstooth checks, shift dresses, and Avengers-style zipper black jackets; hand-painted, graffiti-style sneakers are great buy, too.
Nappa Dori – 4 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-98-1040-0778; nappadori.com; created by NIFT-graduate Gautam Sinha, Nappa Dori, which translates to ‘leather and thread’; tiny store filled with beautiful handmade leather accessories.
Nature Morte – A-1 Neeti Bagh (near Defence Colony); 011-91-11-4174-0215; naturemorte.com; 5 rooms over 3 floors and functions; as much as clubby salon as conventional, white-box gallery; contemporary Indian artists of all types (from paintings to performance).
Nilambari Sarees – 120 Square 1 Mall (Saket District Center; 011-91-11-2956-4985 or 011-91-11-3251-0678; Benares silk (Indian aristocracy fabric), originating in Varanasi; most stunning is shikargarh (hunting-scene sari, scarlet silk embroidered with elephants, lions, parrots, rabbits, spear-toting hunters, and tigers).
O Layla – 21 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2651-3821; accessories and clothing for children, men, and women; owned by famous fashion stylist Ritu Kumar; also showcases upcoming designers and labels.
Ogaan – H-2 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2696-7595; ogaan.com; houses biggest names in Indian fashion; stylish boutique selling accessories, clothing, and jewelry.
Purple Jungle – 16 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2653-8182; purple-jungle.com; French duo Emeline and Iris started this quirky label; colorful, trendy accessories, bags, cushions, newspapers, and pouches; digital prints; soft toys made of tube tires and such; bold designs that borrow classic Indian graphics (think “Horn Please” totes and rickshaw-printed purses).
Ranna Gill – F-5 Crescent at Qutab (Lado Sarai); 011-91-11-2952-1590 or 011-91-11-2952-1591; rannagill.com; printed jersey dresses with beaded necklines.
Satya Paul – G-2 Crescent Mall (Lado Sarai); 011-91-11-2952-1790; satyapaul.com; updated saris.
Shantanu & Nikhil – G-8 Crescent Mall (Lado Sarai); 011-91-11-2952-1574; shantanunikhil.com; mix of East and West style, with Indian influence; severe designs; clothing is unforgiving for less than perfect body types.
Shaw Brothers – D36 Defence Colony; 011-91-11-2469-0364; shawbrothersonline.com; hand-embroidered fabrics, including shawls.
Shivan & Narresh – 12 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-2653-6072; shrivannarresh.com; bold, sophisticated beachwear; 100% stitch-free swimwear and unique signature style; flagship store.
Vadehra Art Gallery – D-40 Defence Colony; 011-91-11-2462-2545; vadehraart.com; partnered with London’s Grosvenor Gallery and has 2 spaces in Delhi; represents best Indian painters.
Valaya Quantum – 222 Gallery on MG, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road; 011-91-11-4102-0737 or 011-91-11-4102-0738; valaya.com; modern clothing with Indian style.
White – 31 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-4605-4817; minimal, very cool multi-designer outlet; stocks over 20 designer labels for women, from names like Rajesh Pratap Singh, Siddhartha Tytler, and Gaurav Gupta to up-&-coming labels like CellDSGN and Kishmish.
Yodakin – 2 Hauz Khas Village; 011-91-11-4178-7201 or 011-91-11-2653-6283; yodakin.com; Delhi-based independent publishing house, Yoda Press, operates this 400 square foot bookshop; titles available in English and Hindi.
Sights & Sites
Baba Kharak Sing Marg – Chanakyapuri (connects Connaught Place with Gol Dak Khana (main post office)); official state emporium.
Crescent Mall – Lado Sarai (across from Qutub Minaret); houses designer boutiques.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – Ashok Road and Baba Kharag Marg (at Connaught Place); 011-91-11-2336-5486 or 011-91-11-2334-2871; banglasahib.org; most prominent Sikh gurdwara (Sikh worship place) known for association with 8th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, and pond inside complex, known as Sarovar, whose water is considered holy by Sikhs (known as Amrit.
Hauz Khas Village – south of city (close to Green Park and Safdarjung Development Area); hip shopping district; road south lined on both sides by ancient stone monuments; entire village dotted with minor Muslim royalty tombs (domed structures from 14th-16th Centuries; at road’s end is Firoz Shah Tughluq’s tomb (ruled Delhi in 14th Century); Hauz Khas means “Royal Tank,” referring to artificial lake still visible from Firoz Shah Tughluq’s pillared tomb, although tank actually built century earlier by Allauddin Khilji as water source for nearby fort, then called Siri (Delhi’s 2nd city); back in village, wander narrow lanes to experience new and old structures – expensive art galleries and shops in medieval warren; find way to gardens near madrassa ruins at village’s back.
Lodi Gardens – bounded by Max Mueller Marg and Lodi Road (near Bara Gumbad); tapering minarets, colored tiles, and Quranic inscriptions adorn 16th Century garden tombs.
Lotus Temple – Bahapur Kalkaji (5 miles south of Connaught Place); 011-91-11-647-0526; bahaihouseofworship.in; stunning, 9-sided lotus structure.
National Gallery of Modern Art – Jaipur House, India Gate; 011-91-11-2338-6111; ngmaindia.gov.in; initially designed as Maharajah home in 1936; now includes miniature tempera and watercolor Deccani, Mughal, Pahari, and Rajasthani court paintings; also, intricate gold leaf paintings (Tanjore).
National Museum – Janpath and Maulana Azad Roads intersection; 011-91-011-301-8415; nationalmuseumindia.gov.in; among India's largest museums; 200K objects range from pre-historic era to modern art works.
Rashtrapati Bhavan – Raisina Hill; presidentofindia.nic.in/rb.html; walk down Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidential palace) to India Gate.
Santushti Shopping Complex – New Wellington Camp, Air Force Station, Race Course Road (Chanakyapuri); 011-91-11-2467-9220; arty and posh boutique collection scattered around small, quiet garden across from Ashok Hotel (in Diplomatic Enclave); prices match those in West, but this is relaxing place to browse and stroll; clothing is main draw, followed by Ayurvedic beauty products, home furnishings, jewelry, and leather; check out, in particular, Anokhi (fabrics) and Tulsi (clothing designed by Neeru Kumar).

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